We had a TON of laughs when we did our 2nd annual Hayride followed by our Minute to Win it family competition. Yes we get teams of 2, yes we do actual minute to win it games, this year we had an actual trophy.
We laughed at each other trying to blow bubbles through a hoop, with what were likely the worlds worst bubbles. Ever. In the history of the planet. We laughed at each other trying to knock over a 3 high stack of empty pop cans by shooting rubber bands at them. We laughed at each other trying to thread an uncooked spaghetti noodle through the pop top of an empty pop can so our partner could grab the other end and carry it to the other end of the table .... by holding the noodle in our mouth! That doesn't count any of the shenanigans that were had on the actual hayride. The least of those shenanigans was that about half of our family went up into some field to potty halfway through.
I think most of us had moments where we missed Dad. I noticed it tonite because we were an even number of people because I'm still single and didn't have a +1 to bring with. I remembered a few times this week that Dad and I played a game of euchre with his 2 brothers just a week before he died. We won. And even in the midst of that game it occurred to me that it might be the last card game I play with my dad, that it might be dad's last game ever. I remember that. I can take the comfort in knowing that I had that. I think most of our family took as many of those "small" moments as we could after we knew dad's cancer was essentially terminal. Family and long-unseen friends showed up just to see Dad. I am certain not one of them regretted the drive or the expense of gas or the time spent. I'd wager that none of them regret seeing my Dad looking the way he did at the end. He wasn't terribly awful looking, but he was certainly not himself.
There is hope in knowing we can laugh again. We can smile again. We can visit friends and be there for our other loved ones. Others can be there for us. There is most definitely hope in knowing that sharing your grief, letting others know your history, can release them to share theirs with you. Maybe theirs isn't so easy or simple or straight-forward. Maybe they didn't get that last card game. They didn't get to tell their loved one how much they loved them. They do have regrets. Or maybe they just aren't sure that being fine for weeks on end is "normal" and after weeks to be blindsided by something ridiculous or inconsequential and be reduced to a sobbing blubbering mess. There is hope in knowing that God is and will use this to make you more like Christ and to help others become more like Christ. Hope is laughter with loved ones.